Now let us praise a woman noble, great,
A valiant servant of the God of Hosts;
her holiness is famed, renowned abroad.
Afire with shafts of holy love she turned
From earthly joys to yearn for those of heaven;
Eternal triumph now her soul's reward!
Her earthly prison penance kept subdued;
She fed her soul on prayer's sweet food alone;
Thus did she seek the glory of her Spouse.
All strength and honor praise and glory be
To God the Father, and His only Son,
And Holy Spirit ever Three in One:
Melody: Sine Nomine 10.10.10 with Alleluias
Music: Ralph Vaughn Williams
Text: Breviary Hymn for the Office of Holy Women
Antiphon: I have kept myself for you alone, and now with lamp alight I run to meet my Spouse.
If the Lord does not build the house,
in vain do its builders labor;
if the Lord does not watch over the city,
in vain does the watchman keep vigil.
In vain is your earlier rising,
your going later to rest,
you who toil for the bread you eat,
when he pours gifts on his beloved while they slumber.
Truly sons are a gift from the Lord,
a blessing, the fruit of the womb.
Indeed the sons of youth
are like arrows in the hand of a warrior.
O the happiness of the man
who has filled his quiver with these arrows!
He will have no cause for shame
when he disputes with his foes in the gateways. Glory...
Antiphon: Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God.
Antiphon:My faith is firmly established, for I have built my life on Christ.
Canticle – Ephesians 1:3-10
Praised be the God and Father *
of our Lord Jesus Christ,
who has bestowed on us in Christ *
every spiritual blessing in the heavens.
God chose us in him *
before the world began
to be holy *
and blameless in his sight.
He predestined us *
to be his adopted sons through Jesus Christ,
such was his will and pleasure, †
that all might praise the glorious favor *
he has bestowed on us in his beloved.
In him and through his blood, we have been redeemed, *
and our sins forgiven,
so immeasurably generous *
is God's favor to us.
God has given us the wisdom *
to understand fully the mystery,
the plan he was pleased *
to decree in Christ.
A plan to be carried out *
in Christ, in the fullness of time,
to bring all things into one in him, *
in the heavens and on earth.
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: *
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.
Antiphon: My faith is firmly established, for I have built my life on Christ.
READING 1 Corinthians 7:32b, 34a
The unmarried man is busy with the Lord's affairs, concerned with pleasing the Lord. The virgin - indeed, any unmarried woman - is concerned with the things of the Lord, in pursuit of holiness in body and spirit.
Christ extolled those who practiced virginity for the sake of the kingdom: let us praise him joyfully and pray to him.
Jesus, example of virgins, hear us.
Christ, you presented the Church to yourself as a chaste virgin to her spouse:
- keep her holy and inviolate.
Christ, the holy virgins went out to meet you with their lamps alight:
- keep the fidelity of your consecrated handmaids burning brightly.
Lord, your virgin Church has always kept its faith whole and untarnished:
- grant all Christians a whole and untarnished faith.
You have given your people joy in celebrating the feast of your holy virgin N.,
- give us constant joy through her intercession.
You have admitted the holy virgins to your marriage banquet:
- in your mercy lead the dead to your heavenly feast.
If there is no proper prayer, one of the following is said:
you have told us that you live for ever
in the hearts of the chaste.
By the prayers of the virgin, N.,
help us to live by your grace
and remain a temple of your Spirit.
hear the prayers of those who recall the devoted life of the virgin N.
Guide us on our way and help us to grow
in love and devotion as long as we live.
We ask this...
For several virgins:
increase in us your gift of mercy and forgiveness.
May we who rejoice at this celebration in honor of the virgins N. and N.
receive the joy of sharing eternal life with them.
We ask this...